Wealth, we hear constantly, comes from hard work.
But Google chief Larry Page—no slouch in the wealth department—says the workweek should be shorter. And most millionaires who commented in a recent survey agree.
In a discussion with tech investor Vinod Khosla, Page said “the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is just not true.” Our true needs, he said, are basic. And we spend too much time working for things we don’t need.
One answer he suggested would be a “coordinated way to reduce the workweek.”
“Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests,” he said.
It’s easy, of course, for a billionaire workaholic to say that we work too hard. But it turns out that even everyday millionaires, who you would think would preach the religion of long hours, think our work week should be shorter.
A survey by Spectrem Group found that more that 69 percent of millionaires surveyed (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) said they believed the four-day work week is a “valid idea.”
Women were even more supportive—82 percent of female millionaires in the survey supported the idea of a four-day workweek.
There are some caveats. The wealthier the respondents were, the less likely they were to support four-day workweeks.
Those worth $5 million or more, for example, were evenly split between those who supported and those who opposed the idea. Business owners were also less likely to endorse the idea.
And just because millionaires support a four-day week doesn’t mean they support less work. Most millionaires support four 10-hour days, so the standard workweek would still be 40 hours, just more compressed.
And vacation time isn’t exactly vacation time for the wealthy. Fully 40 percent of those earning $200,000 or more said they “always” check their email or voice mail while on vacation.
So millionaires don’t exactly support slacking—they just support larger blocks of time set aside for work and leisure.
—By CNBC’s Robert Frank